5 shocking facts about extreme global inequality and how to even it up

Rasheda (24), a young mother-of-two, washes clothes in her yard, beside an open sewer, Chittagong, Bangladesh. Despite economic growth, almost 40 million people in Bangladesh still live below the national poverty line. Photo: GMB Akash/Oxfam
Rasheda (24), a young mother-of-two, washes clothes in her yard, beside an open sewer, Chittagong, Bangladesh. Despite economic growth, almost 40 million people in Bangladesh still live below the national poverty line. Photo: GMB Akash/Oxfam

The inequality crisis is worsening. 82 percent of the wealth created last year went to the richest one percent of the global population, while the 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity got nothing.

Our broken economy is widening the gap between rich and poor. It enables a small elite to accumulate vast wealth at the expense of hundreds of millions of people, often women, who are scraping a living on poverty pay and denied basic rights.

We need you to let those in power know that millions of us are taking on the injustice of inequality.  We can build a fairer world and beat poverty for good. But we need to see action, not just words.


A world getting more unequal

All over the world, poorly paid work for the many is supporting extreme wealth for the few. Our economy is built on the backs of ordinary workers who are trapped in poverty while the benefits of economic growth continue to concentrate in fewer hands at the top.

Women are the big losers, facing high levels of discrimination in the work place and taking on a disproportionate amount of unpaid care work.

Large corporations and rich individuals play a key role in widening this gap. They use their power and influence to ensure government policy works in their interests. And big business is ruthlessly focused on maximizing returns to their shareholders by any means – whether that’s driving down wages or dodging taxes.


Extreme poverty vs extreme wealth: how big is the inequality gap?

We can build a human economy to fix this

It is hard to find a political or business leader these days who is not saying they are worried about inequality. Yet actions, not words, are what count. Unless we close the gap between rich and poor, the goal of eliminating extreme poverty will be missed, and almost half a billion people will still be living on less than $1.90 a day in 2030.

But we can change this. To end the inequality crisis, we can build a more human economy that works for everyone, not just the fortunate few. An economy that rewards work, not wealth.

Let’s fight inequality and together we’ll beat poverty for good.